Obnoxious Carpet in Dementialand

I’ve been traveling quite a bit for work. When March is said and done, I will have spent almost half of it in a hotel room. I enjoy traveling, but right now I’m over the hotel deal. Only one of my five most recent hotel stays has offered a free continental breakfast. My last hotel TV couldn’t pick up the signal for CBS (which wouldn’t be … Continue reading Obnoxious Carpet in Dementialand

Coloring Contests in Dementialand (aka Simple Things in a Complicated Situation)

They are having a coloring contest, I am told. “They’ll sit there pretty much all afternoon,” Kathy says, as I watch her mother and her daughter sit in the dining room at the nursing home with a tub of crayons and a stack of coloring books. There is something about it that fascinates me. A grandmother and a granddaughter, separated by about 60 years, but somehow … Continue reading Coloring Contests in Dementialand (aka Simple Things in a Complicated Situation)

What I Don’t Get About Dementialand (And Hopefully Never Will)

You can only know so much about Africa without visiting. You can read books on Africa. You can look at pictures of Africa. You can spend time with people from Africa…but I don’t think you can really gain a full understanding of Africa without visiting. That’s where I’m at with Dementialand. I know a lot about dementia. I’m grateful that I am sometimes given opportunities to use … Continue reading What I Don’t Get About Dementialand (And Hopefully Never Will)

Whack-A-Mole and Tongues in Dementialand

A friend of mine, who is engaged to be married, once referred to conversations with her future mother-in-law as games of Whack-A-Mole. I remember being a huge Whack-A-Mole fan when I’d visit Chuck E. Cheese as a kid. Little toy moles would pop up in random patterns and I’d have to respond by hitting them with a mallot. My friend considered her future mother-in-law’s questions … Continue reading Whack-A-Mole and Tongues in Dementialand

Policing Dementialand (aka Thoughts on Dementia-Friendly Communities)

We tend to judge an occupation by its worst members. We meet a few doctors with poor bedside manner, and we think doctors don’t genuinely care about their patients. We have a few arrogant professors in college, so we say all professors are arrogant. We perceive one lawyer as sleazy, so they all are. It’s a cognitive shortcut. It’s easier for our brains to put all people … Continue reading Policing Dementialand (aka Thoughts on Dementia-Friendly Communities)

Aggressive Behavior in Dementialand

My cell phone rings in the morning as I’m blowdrying my hair before work. I look at the number, and I’m not sure who’s calling. I’m tempted to assume it’s a wrong number and not answer. I’m running late. I figure if it’s someone I know, they can leave a voicemail. However, something tells me to answer. It’s a friend of a friend that I’ve … Continue reading Aggressive Behavior in Dementialand

The 2041 Words That Helped Me Understand Dementialand

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a private person, but I’ve struggled at times to put my experiences and perspectives in writing, not knowing what type of response I might receive. I’ve written about a few regrets I have, and I regularly visit my many weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Sometimes I open up a bit and wonder if I shouldn’t have. In the end, I’m usually glad I did. Continue reading The 2041 Words That Helped Me Understand Dementialand

The Prime Time in Dementialand (and Why You Don’t Want to Listen to Me Lecture at 2pm)

When I was a teenager, my mom bought me a nightshirt that said “Perky Morning People Should be Shot” across the front. Looking back, that statement was a bit harsh, but I often threw a fit (aimed at my mother) about having to get up early in the morning. And I wore that nightshirt until I was about 25…until it was virtually transparent. Despite my … Continue reading The Prime Time in Dementialand (and Why You Don’t Want to Listen to Me Lecture at 2pm)

Mean Listening Face in Dementialand (or the Importance of Non-Verbal Communication)

I was diagnosed by my husband as having an affliction called Mean Listening Face about four years ago. A college student that I had in class previously was at our house for pizza. She was telling me about how she had recently applied for a few positions at non-profit agencies. She looked at me and stopped in the middle of a sentence. “Oh, is that not a … Continue reading Mean Listening Face in Dementialand (or the Importance of Non-Verbal Communication)

Friends Who Make Like Trees in Dementialand

In one of my college courses, I often found myself sitting directly behind an African-American woman who wore her hair in cornrows. I was fascinated by her cornrows and found them gorgeous. As a white girl who couldn’t even braid, I was amazed at how tiny and detailed the braids were, and one day I decided to tell her that. I started with something like … Continue reading Friends Who Make Like Trees in Dementialand